COVID-19 has affected economies across the globe in unthinkable ways. Many economies, industries, small and medium scale businesses – including especially the airline and the tourism sectors – are hard hit by the dreaded pandemic.
In view of this, governments around the globe have made available funds to support businesses in crises. In the USA, the Trump administration has signed an unprecedented amount of US$2.2trillion to support businesses and vulnerable individuals which have been hard-hit by the pandemic. The German and United Kingdom governments are also supporting small businesses that have been hard-hit by the pandemic.
In several other African countries, governments have rolled out similar packages to support terrified business owners. South Africa and Nigeria are some examples. In Ghana, the president has announced a GH¢600million package to support small and medium scale enterprises suffering from effects of the feared pandemic.
It is very important that a comprehensive orientation be held for beneficiaries of these packages before it is disbursed. Such an orientation must necessarily include topics like effective money management, frugality, long- and short-term investments, the differences between assets and liabilities, business expansion, debts management, planning, preparation toward retirement and many more.
The Holy Bible has made it clear that parents must train up a child in the way s/he should go, and when s/he is old, s/he will not depart from it (Prov. 22:6). Therefore, regular training and retraining on Money management should be the main focus of government to help these business owners grow and expand their enterprises to employ more people and reduce unemployment.
Footballers, athletes, sportsmen and women win because of regular training. However, Money management training has been relegated to the background, hence rampant poverty in the country. When citizens are well-educated on money Management, poverty will reduce, wealth will be created among the populace, and corruption in society will reduce to the barest minimum.
During the one-year moratorium before payment starts, training should be done to prepare the minds of the business people not to change their life-styles because of the fresh inflow. They should be trained to know that becoming and staying rich is a long journey and not an event.
All 260 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) across the country can set up Money Management and Wealth Creation Centres (MMWCC) to manage activities of the COVID-19 Fund beneficiaries. It must be understood money management is a practical skill that must be acquired, mastered and practiced over and over again – just like driving, cooking, singing and shooting penalties in football. Any businessman or woman who wants to be rich and wealthy to help others in society must not neglect the skills of money Management.
Bill Gates, one of the wealthiest men in world said: “If you are born poor, it is not your mistake; but if you die poor it is your mistake”.
The loan repayment
Data available from Ghana Statistical Service indicate that most Ghanaians are religious. Loan repayment, however, is not spiritual but physical and practical. When businesses are doing well and crises come, most people resort to prayer and fasting. It must be understood that one cannot replace loan payment with prayer and fasting only. In Ecclesiastes 3:3 there is time for everything. Holiness and righteousness also cannot replace investments, budgeting and networking.
Many believe that after tithing to God then all shall be well. That is not true. Hard work, savings and sound investments, applying and obeying business principles are the keys to a successful business.
Beneficiaries can use the Mobile Money (MoMo) system to pay for the loan. Petty traders, dressmakers and artisans can be given a code to pay their loans on a daily basis through their mobile phones as they do for susu – and that will bring meaning to the old adage that little drops of water make a mighty ocean. In this case, defaulters can easily be traced to remind them to repay.
Suze Oman said: “Wealth has very little to do with money; it is applied knowledge and mindset”.
The president has made it clear that Ghanaians are not poor, and I agree with him. Poverty in Africa is not due to lack of money, natural and human resources. The main cause of poverty in Africa, however, is lack of little money management skills and not necessarily huge sums of money per se.
Also the absence of human resources development and natural resources management are secondary reasons. Mastery of one’s craft and practical money management capabilities – which involves earning sufficient money, spending less, saving and investing more will – lead to wealth creation.
In this vein, Coconut sellers in a village, welders in the big cities and truck pushers can own properties. A dressmaker with mastery of money management skills can plan to save and invest GH¢5 per ‘kaba’ sewn for five years and start a real estate project in an inexpensive part of town to the glory of God. Therefore, money management skill is indeed the key to riches and wealth creation, irrespective of one’s geographical location, level of education or ethnicity.
>>>The writer is a preacher, author, environmentalist and money management coach. He can be reached on 0545541820 and [email protected].